‘X’ (2022) Film: Ending, Explained – Did Maxine Manage To Survive? What Happened To The Horror Film?


Lust turned into horror when an adult film company stayed at a Texas farm to shoot their film. In 1979, when home movies were on the rise, “Cocktails and Topless Entertainment,” an adult film company, dreamt of being among the first to deliver home adult videos. Each member of the team was swayed by the American Dream. Adult entertainment was a phase before they hoped to be a part of Hollywood. The team consisted of Maxine Minx, the producer’s special star who motivated herself in front of the mirror after snorting a good portion of coke; Bobby-Lynne, not new to the business; her goal was to live in a paid-for house with a large pool; Jackson Hole, a marine veteran who served during the Vietnam War, turned adult entertainer; Wayne Gilroy, the producer; RJ, the cameraman who treated the adult film as a cinematic masterpiece; and Lorraine, the sound girl, and RJ’s girlfriend.

Warning: Mature Content

‘X’ Plot Summary: What Is The Film About?

The team was on their way to shoot the film, titled “The Farmer’s Daughters.” Lorainne fell out of place. Her conservative roots made her look down on the profession. RJ wanted to create an avant-garde film considering the low-budget production. As Wayne and Maxine picked up food at a local gas station, the television played the speech of a Christian preacher who spoke against the secular lifestyle. At a time when the new generation started to uphold intimate liberation and was moving away from conservative ideals, it threatened the Christian community. The preacher is present throughout the film and provides the right amount of contradiction.

Upon reaching the farm, Wayne knocked on the door, and an old man with a shotgun in hand appeared. Wayne confirmed their booking for the boarding house. Howard, the old man, mentioned that the shotgun was not loaded and that it was his way of keeping strangers away. As the team carried their luggage to the house, Maxine spotted an old lady looking at her from the second-floor window. As Bobby-Lynne and Jackson started shooting their scene, Maxine left the house for a smoke. While she explored the place, she noticed a pond behind the house and went in for a quick dip. The old lady watched her remove her clothes from a distance. After staying afloat in the pond, she swam back to the shore. Maxine was oblivious to the alligator that followed her. The old lady waved at her from the farmhouse. She invited her inside.

The audience gets a close look at Pearl for the first time. She had a fragile body, her skin was wrinkled and loose, and her thin white hair crowned her head. Maxine looked around the house. The sink had a heap of used utensils, and the kitchen had not been cleaned for quite some time now. Amidst that untidiness, Pearl offered Maxine lemonade. She gulped down the drink as the condition of the house and Pearl made her uncomfortable. Pearl spoke about her good old days when she used to be a beautiful young woman. She was a dancer but could not continue with her interest as a result of the war. Howard had fought in both World Wars, and they used to be a romantic couple at that time. It was her beauty that made her man go to any extent for her. She stared at Maxine’s body with envy. She stretched her hand and touched her body. Maxine was left aghast as Howard’s car approached, and Pearl asked her to leave and to keep their conversation secret.

Maxine rushed to the boarding house, where she calmed herself down for her scene. At the barn, she and Howard shot their scene. Surprisingly, Lorraine started to enjoy what she witnessed. As Maxine climaxed, Pearl voyeuristically stared at her through the window. When Pearl imagined herself in place of Maxine, she was aroused by what she saw. Old dolls with dirt and makeup were kept inside Pearl’s room. She sat in front of the mirror. Her old makeup box and powder were lined up on the dressing table. She dabbed eyeshadow on her eyes and brushed her hair. She wore her pretty dress and danced in front of Howard. She wanted to get intimate, but Howard said that his heart was too weak for it. Heartbroken, Pearl changed her clothes back to the usual. She tried to sleep, but her libido did not permit it. She woke up from her sleep in the middle of the night, hoping to find men who would find her attractive and, if not, punish them for making her hate herself.

Why Did Pearl Murder The Team?

RJ felt betrayed when Lorraine wanted to be a part of the film. After shooting her scene with Jackson, RJ went for a bath and decided to leave them all stranded in the middle of nowhere. He left the room and started the van while the rest were fast asleep. As he turned the lights on and drove ahead, he saw Pearl standing in his path. He got off the van and asked her if she needed help. She expressed her desire to be loved and caressed by a man. RJ felt disturbed by her advance. He made it clear that he was not interested in her. Pearl asked him why he would not look at her the way he looked at his partner; she, too, was capable of offering the same. He asked her to look for her husband, and that is when she punctured a knife into his neck. RJ cried for help, and Pearl pulled the knife out, letting the blood flow. She frantically stabbed his neck over and over again; she was possessed by hate and grief. She danced in front of the decapitated body. A sort of tranquility overtook her.

When Lorraine realized that RJ was missing, she asked Wayne to look for him. Wayne went to the barn to search for RJ, while Lorraine was seen by Howard. He said that his wife had a condition and he could not find her. He asked her to find the torch that was kept in the basement. As she entered the chamber, Howard locked her inside. Wayne noticed a shadow passing outside. To get a better look, he looked through the holes, and his eyes were punctured in an instant. Jackson sensed something was wrong. He went to the living area to drink milk, and he noticed Howard at the door. He had a shotgun in his hand that he said was for the alligators. Jackson accompanied him to help him search for his wife.

In the bush, he shot Jackson in the stomach. Pearl, with blood all over her dress and hands, entered Maxine’s room. She looked at her body with envy and lust. She climbed onto the bed and laid beside her, naked. She touched Maxine with her bloody hands, seeking pleasure from her young body. Maxine screamed when she opened her eyes. Pearl left the room naked and disappointed. When Bobby-Lynne noticed the old woman leaving, she followed her to the pond. She covered Pearl’s body with a shawl she carried. She exclaimed that she had always wanted to be a nurse. Her grandmother suffered from memory loss as well, so she knew how confusing it could get. Pearl stared at her with disgust. She slapped her on the face and replied that she did not need a nurse. She added that it was unfair how young women had it all, and they flaunted it right in her face. A stunned Bobby-Lynne replied that it was not her fault that she did not live her life when she was young. She asked her to move out of the way, and just when she was about to use the b-word, Pearl pushed her into the pond and cursed her. An alligator tore off Bobby-Lynne’s head. Howard saw his wife stare at the body being eaten away. He asked if this was the one, and she replied that it wasn’t, but she was never too fond of the blonds.

They entered Maxine’s room and were disappointed not to find her. It was perhaps their way of punishing those who lived their lives freely. They blamed the immoral people who stirred Pearl’s wild emotions, as they were responsible for making her long for intimate pleasure. It seems that Pearl had fantasies when she was young, but society did not allow her to express them. Now that she was old and decaying, she felt hateful for the young women who could now express their sexuality.

‘X’ Ending Explained: Did Maxine Manage To Escape?

Howard and Pearl were disappointed when they reached Maxine’s room; she was gone. Pearl asked Howard to appreciate her beauty and their love. In that moment of affection, Pearl requested Howard for intercourse. They made love. Under the bed was Maxine, trying to stay as calm and quiet as possible. She crept out of the room and stepped outside. She got into the van and realized that the key had been taken away. She could hear a scream for help and found Lorraine trapped in the basement. She helped her out and asked her to stay calm, but Lorraine was going all over the place. She blamed Maxine for the situation she was in, as it was because of them that she committed a sin and was facing the consequences. With an axe in her hand, she walked towards the door but was instantly shot by Howard. Maxine had the handgun she found in the van with her. She waited patiently for the right moment to leave.

Howard and Pearl planned to get rid of the bodies by throwing them in the pond. As he carried away Lorraine’s body, it suddenly jerked and spilt blood. The sudden movement gave Howard a heart attack, and he passed away. Taking the moment to her advantage, Maxine stepped out with the gun in her hand. She asked for the keys and found them under the lamp. She pointed the gun at Pearl and remarked that she was going to rot when people found out the truth. Pearl replied that Maxine was no better than she was. She had seen her at the barn, participating in the filth. She called her a “deviant little whore” and cursed that she would end up just like her. Maxine retorted that she was going to be a star, and the world would know her name because she would not settle for a life she did not deserve.

In the background, the Christian preacher whose show was running on the elderly couple’s television said just the same to his followers. When Maxine clicked to shoot, she realized that the gun was empty. Pearl immediately got hold of Howard’s gun and fired in her direction. Maxine was not hit, but the force from the shotgun displaced Pearl’s hip. She laid on the ground and asked for help. While Maxine got onto the van, Pearl continued to call her names and cursed that everything would be taken away from her just like it was taken away from Pearl. Maxine drove the van over her head and left the farm. The next morning, when the sheriff came into the house, we witnessed the same television program playing. The Christian preacher revealed the face of his daughter, who had run away from his house and had gone to the “devil.” It was Maxine.

In the basement, the sheriff saw the body of a man whose hands and legs were locked and whose pants were pulled down. The body had started to decay. Howard had mentioned that a man had come to the farm and that he had enticed his wife, as a result of which he was punished. When the police retrieved the camera reel, they asked the sheriff what he thought might be in it. He replied, by the looks of it, perhaps a horror film.

“X” will remind the audience of several horror films. Perhaps it was the director’s way of paying tribute to the iconic films. It is a definite homage to “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” (1974), a gruesome slasher film that defined the decade “X” works with. The shot in which Lorraine broke open a part of the door with an axe, replicated the famous scene from “The Shining.”

When Lorraine discussed her interest in being part of the adult film production, she mentioned Alfred Hitchcock’s ‘The Psycho,’ which was famous for using a MacGuffin that completely changed the course of the film. Their night, too, changed its course, from shooting an adult film to living a horror slasher film. One can also relate to “The Psycho” in the shot where Maxine notices Pearl looking at her from the window of her room. The old lady figure next to the window is iconic of Hitchcock’s horror. “X” is an engrossing thriller slasher film that revolves around the idea of envy that comes with aging. The sadness that comes with losing one’s youthful beauty. That crushing feeling that one gets when they are looked at with nothing but sympathy is excellently depicted in the film. While a lot seems to be left unsaid, particularly with regards to the elderly couple, with the prequel “Pearl,” we will hopefully get to delve deep into her history.

“X” is a 2022 Drama Horror Film written and directed by Ti West.

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Srijoni Rudra
Srijoni Rudra
Srijoni has worked as a film researcher on a government-sponsored project and is currently employed as a film studies teacher at a private institute. She holds a Master of Arts degree in Film Studies. Film History and feminist reading of cinema are her areas of interest.

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